WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) sent a letter to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), urging one of the largest public pension funds in the country to take immediate action to remedy serious legal and ethical issues regarding indirect payments to the Trump Organization.
In April, Free Speech For People and Courage Campaign, two government watchdog groups, called upon CalPERS to uphold its legal and fiduciary duties and end this flow of payments from state coffers to the President. After a report by Reuters identified CalPERS as one of the eleven state and local pension funds invested in a real estate fund that owns the Trump Soho Luxury Hotel and Condominium, Free Speech For People launched a petition urging CalPERS to act in obligation to their beneficiaries to manage their investments in accordance with the laws.
The CEO of CalPERS responded to Free Speech For People’s letter by promising to continue to “monitor and analyze” the situation with the “expectation” that CIM Group will manage the fund in the best interests of CalPERS’s members. Based on CalPERS inadequate response, Congressman Lieu’s letter strongly urges the public pension to obey the law of the land.
“Public funds should not be invested in a scheme that illegally enriches the President. CalPERS has a duty to obey the laws of the land, including the U.S. Constitution, and it has a fiduciary duty to conduct due diligence to avoid unethical and illegal investments,” said Congressman Ted Lieu.
“CalPERS has an unprecedented opportunity to take action that protects its 1.8 million members and preserves one of the fundamental principles of our democracy: The President should act based on national interest, not his own financial interests,” said Shanna Cleveland, Senior Counsel for Free Speech For People.
To date, more than 12,000 Californian residents have signed a petition calling on CalPERS to divest Trump SoHo.
THE FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER CAN BE FOUND HERE